Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

THE

BOROUGH.

LETTER I.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION.

These did the Ruler of the Deep ordain,
To build proud Navies, and to rule the Main.

Pope's Homer's Iliad, Book vi, line 45.

Such scenes has Deptford, Navy-building town,

Woolwich and Wapping, smelling strong of pitch;
Such Lambeth, envy of each band and gown,
And Twickenham such, which fairer scenes enrich.

Pope's Imitation of Spenser.

[ocr errors]

LETTER I.

THE BOROUGH.

The Difficulty of describing Town Scenery.--A Compa

rison with certain Views in the Country. The River and Quay. --The Shipping and Business. --ShipBuilding.-Sea-Boys and Port-Views.-Village and Town Scenery again compared.-Walks from Town. -Cottage and adjoining Heath, &c.House of Sunday Entertainment. The Sea: A Summer and Winter View.--A Shipwreck at Night, and its Effects on Shore.--Evening Amusements in the Borough.--An Apology for the imperfect View which can be given of these Subjects.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION.

“ DESCRIBE the Borough"-though our idle Tribe
May love Description, can we so describe,
That you shall fairly Streets and Buildings trace,
And all that gives distinction to a place?
This cannot be; yet, mov'd by your request,
A part I paint-let Fancy form the rest.

Cities and Towns, the various haunts of men,
Require the pencil; they defy the pen :

Could he, who sang so well the Grecian Fleet,
So well have sung of Alley, Lane, or Street?
Can measur'd lines these various Buildings show,
The Town-Hall Turning, or the Prospect Row?
Can I the seats of Wealth and Want explore,
And lengthen out my Lays from door to door?

Then let thy Fancy aid me-I repair
From this tall Mansion of our last-year's Mayor,
Till we the Out-skirts of the Borough reach,
And these half-buried Buildings next the Beach;
Where hang at open doors, the Net and Cork,
While squalid Sea-Dames mend the meshy work ;
Till comes the hour, when fishing through the tide,
The weary Husband throws his Freight aside ;
A living mass, which now demands the Wife,
Th’alternate labours of their humble Life.

Can Scenes like these withdraw thee from thy Wood, Thy upland Forest or thy Valley's Flood ? Seek then thy Garden's shrubby Bound, and look, As it steals by, upon the bordering Brook; That winding Streamlet, limpid, lingering, slow, Where the Reeds whisper when the Zephyrs blow; Where in the midst, upon her throne of green, Sits the large Lily* as the Water's Queen; And makes the Current, forc'd awhile to stay, Murmur and bubble as it shoots away; Draw then the strongest contrast to that stream, And our broad River will before thee seem.

With ceaseless motion comes and goes the Tide, Flowing, it fills the Channel vast and wide; Then back to Sea, with strong majestic sweep It rolls, in ebb yet terrible and deep; .

• The white Water-lily. Nymphea alba,

Here Sampire-Banks* and Salt-wort + bound the Flood,
There Stakes and Sea-weeds withering on the Mud;
And higher up, a ridge of all things base,
Which some strong tide has rolld upon the place.

Thy gentle River boasts its pigmy Boat,
Urg'd on by pains, half grounded, half afloat ;
While at her Stern an Angler takes his stand,
And marks the Fish he purposes to land;
From that clear space, where, in the cheerful ray
Of the warm Sun, the scaly people play.

Far other Craft our prouder River shows,
Hoys, Pinks and Sloops; Brigs, Brigantines and Snows:
Nor Angler we on our wide Stream descry,
But one poor Dredger where his Oysters lie:
He, cold and wet, and driving with the Tide,
Beats his weak arms against his tarry side,
Then drains the remnant of diluted gin,
To aid the warmth that languishes within ;
Renewing oft his poor attempts to beat
His tingling Fingers into gathering heat.

He shall again be seen when Evening comes,
And social Parties crowd their favourite Rooms :
Where, on the Table Pipes and Papers lie,
The steaming Bowl or foaming Tankard by;
'Tis then, with all these comforts spread around,
They hear the painful Dredger's welcome sound;
And few themselves the savoury boon deny,
The food that feeds, the living luxury.

Yon is our Quay! those smaller Hoys from Town, Its various Wares, for Country-use, bring down;

* The jointed Glasswort. Salicornia is here meant, not the true Sampire, the Crithmum maritimum.

+ The Satsola of Botanists.'

« ZurückWeiter »